As I walked home yesterday from the market with my several bags of groceries and my godson in toe being harassed by young black men who probably could be my nephews, I finally understood why many Black men act the way they do. Why they are completely impervious to emotions. Why they can sleep with countless numbers of women and men and deny their sexuality. Why they have so much free time to harass me as I walk down the street (al. holding constant the double digit unemployment rate in the black community). Why they can walk away from raising their children. Yes, I know why they act the way they act. It’s pretty simple. They have no social responsibility and by extension no emotional responsibility.
Not that I pay that much attention to hip-hop anymore, but rapper, [The] Game (when did he drop the article?) spoke out recently about gays and hip-hop, and I noticed. And by “notice” I mean someone mentioned it to me and I bothered to Google it. Call it preparation for LGBTQ History Month.
In case you were wondering or concerned, “Game don’t have a problem with gay people.” Let’s all take a moment and release that collective sigh of relief. I wish I could follow that quote with “The Game don’t have a problem with not making albums anymore,” but that would be a lie–or a wish. Take your pick. But I digress. So, yeah, The Game don’t have a problem with gay people, but he does have a problem with believing myths and spreading them as if they are factually correct. The Game may not have a problem with the gays–and by gays The Game seems to speak exclusively about gay men–but he does have a problem with closeted men sleeping with straight women and consequently spreading AIDS to straight men who, I guess, would otherwise not have gotten caught up. This theory, as many of us know, has gained the appellation, “The Down Low Myth,” and several blogs have responded to The Game’s comments by refuting his argument. I support those efforts. And I hope those fans of The Game (because, seriously, who else was paying attention) who believed his words read those responses and gained some clarity. There was, however, something that the pundits missed, and I’d like to address it here.
Although I’d like to spend this morning ranting about how Peyton Manning’s neck is going to make this the most intolerable football season in years, I understand that no one but me, Colts fans, and folks who drafted him in their fantasy league really care. And so, I dedicate this morning’s post to something we all care about. That’s right. Dancing with the Stars.
People will tell you two things when they send you off to college: study hard and have fun. We have some concept of studying hard, but the other piece of advice, you will soon realize, comes across very vaguely. I didn’t grasp why “fun” has a unique meaning at school until I figured out that, at college, starting a sex life is like opening a bank account. Among being the space to cultivate a career-ready individuals, college juxtaposes an environment to truly experiment with everything! It’s the beginning of the semester so I thought I’d give freshman, or anyone interested in going to college, a head start by sharing some stories of mine.
Our prayers were answered yesterday, people.
Last night, Toronto-based R&B mystery man The Weeknd unleashed his brand new mixtape Thursday. You can follow the link below to snag the free download.
Things have changed drastically for The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) since the release of his first tape House Of Balloons earlier this year. For one thing, there was absolutely no pressure. But since then, House of Balloons has been the most positively-reviewed album of the year thus far. Tesfaye now releases his follow-up to an audience hungry for another dose of a dark, haunted and debauched majesty that we now come to expect (i.e. demand) from The Weeknd.
And our hero does not disappoint.
Dear Queen Latifah,
Well, look at you! Just the other week I was considering the conditions under which you might come out, and now word on the street is you’re all up in the magazines talking about what kind of women you like:
Queen Latifah: …I just like ladies who have class. Period. And if it’s “T and A” you’re sellin’, that’s fine, as long as that’s what you’re selling. But you don’t have to show everything, you know? You can hold some back and just be yourself and let your personality shine and let your individuality show. To me, that’s sexier. A confident woman is a sexy woman, in my opinion. And I think guys find that to be the same way.
Queen Latifah: You don’t have to show everything; you don’t have to put it all out there to attract a guy. Because what kind of guy are you gonna attract? What is he really looking for? If you wanna be a booty call, I guess you can throw it all out there. (laughs) But if you’re looking for a relationship with someone who respects you and respects things other than your body—your mind, your spirit, your personality, your smile—then you have to kind of exude that more so than just yo’ booty and yo’ titties.
- “Boystown was built and created by gay whites with hard earned money years back…Its sad that Boystown has been taken advantage by these f***ing savage monkeys.“
- “They also happen to be very noticeably out of place!! So why are they not questioned and asked to leave by the police is amazing! Check their ID and if they don’t live there ask them to enter an establishment or leave!!! …They travel from all over the city to infest ‘Boystown’ with their ghetto mentality and violet [sic] attitude! Watching that video really has sickened me!!! It is what it is, and they were all Black!”
- Quotes found on the TAKE BACK BOYSTOWN Facebook page, courtesy of Huffington Post.
Last week, Lauryn Hill announced the birth of her sixth child, a son, and then somehow found the strength to perform in LA just days after. Of course, this newest edition to Hill’s family surprised very few, since photographs of her on stage during her Moving Target tour last spring led to speculations that she was pregnant–a rumor she later confirmed. As is the tendency when news of Hill’s personal life emerges, the commoners side-eyed, sighed, smh’d and almost angrily mumbled about Lauryn running game like the Knicks/build[ing us] up only to lose the championship. Would she still appear at Rock the Bells and perform 1998’s axis-altering solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill as had been planned? Would we ever hear that follow-up studio album? This latest pregnancy put everything (the fans wanted) in jeopardy.
At this stage in the game, it’s really impossible to know the true nature of Amy Winehouse’s legacy. This kind of thing becomes clear with time and distance.
It might be easy to compare her with other beloved singers that left us too soon, like Billie Holiday or Sam Cooke. And perhaps we’ll position her alongside her cohorts in the 27 Club, like Janis Joplin or Kurt Cobain. To be clear, I’m almost certain Amy will be looked upon with similar admiration and awe; her voice, style and songwriting were unmatched by anyone else of her generation.
But its important to recognize that we experienced Amy in a very different way. There are no youtube videos of Kurt Cobain shooting up heroin. There is very little footage of Jim Morrison’s many disastrous concert meltdowns. Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix had more than a few nights out on the town drunk and high. But the paparazzi didn’t follow their every move, and random onlookers weren’t armed with camera phones in the late 60’s.
Yes, Amy Winehouse’s legacy will be very different from theirs because her many highs and lows were witnessed en masse, in real time, via. youtube, tabloids and blogs. We saw practically every moment of it. For better or for worse. And though it may be difficult to admit, there is just no way this won’t influence the way we perceive her life and work.
It wasn’t until I sat down to write this that I realized I’d have to confess to watching Single Ladies–more than once. It’s true. Admittedly, I watched the first episode because I think Dionne Stacey Dash is fine. And although I find the acting in some ways utterly intolerable, somehow I’ve seen enough episodes since to still be able to follow the story line. Saying I watch because I want to support Lisa[waaaaaybeyondhershelflife]Raye for miraculously still finding work–even in a recession–is pretty unconvincing. Perhaps I should just blame baseball season. Apparently, I’m not alone. Viewership of Single Ladies has been consistent, and Vh1, which has been steadily rebranding itself as a grown and sexy, older sibling counterpart to BET’s blazing hip-hop and R&B, will more than likely renew the (two-thirds) black version of Sex and the City for another season.
We’re a little over halfway through 2011, and we’ve already been blessed with some incredible music. And while we still have albums from Drake, Jay-Z and Kanye, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and (possibly) OutKast to look forward to, allow me to give you a quick rundown of my top 5 albums of 2011 thus far.
Pick these records up if you haven’t already, and let us in on some of your personal faves below.
What happened this week that made me imagine my father a superhero:
This week, I went to the doctor to check on my blood pressure. A couple of weeks ago it was a tad bit above the normal rate and so my doctor wanted to monitor it. So, I scheduled an appointment to come in this week. So, I go in and the nurse takes my blood pressure and it’s perfectly normal. So, upon hearing this I thought I could leave, but the nurse said I still had to see the doctor. To make a long story short, I saw a white male doctor who I had have never met before and instead of checking on my heart, he felt it “appropriate” to discuss my sexuality, to make racial innuendos about black women’s hypersexuality and STD rates, to discuss my “pear” shape of a black derrière, and to slide his ungloved hand under my shirt to touch my belly without cause or provocation.
Yep, this is what happened to me this week. And, of course, I felt silenced throughout the entire ordeal trying to figure out how my sexuality and the need to touch my belly had anything to do with my perfectly normal blood pressure reading. Nothing it had nothing to do with it. This older white male doctor, who appeared to be congenial, in a matter of moments, stole my ability to breathe, and, honestly, after it happened all that I could think about was, “If my father was here, he would whoop his ass.” Yes, in that moment, I wished my recovering alcoholic father who I know can fight (i.e. Evidenced by my mothers’ many blackened eyes growing up), was present to punch the white doctor in his eye Superhero style with BAM, WHAM, and a Whoosh.
It’s always dangerous when an artist has nothing left to prove.
But after winning 16 Grammy Awards, selling 75 million records worldwide, and inspiring an entire generation of female (and male) artists with her intoxicating brand of 70’s soul-meets-Hip Hop Pop, Beyonce has every right not to.
So what is initially so stunning about 4 is that it does not reflect an artist resting on her laurels. Beyonce has made the ballsy choice to push forward, to reach higher. It may not result in the number one hits and platinum plaques she (still) deserves, but she’s got enough of those.
4 is what happens when a great artist has nothing left to prove. And it is a stunning album.
We never think about our frailties when we are receiving the privileges of our entitled position. I think there is accountability to be shared on many levels. And as Bishop Long’s friend, Dollar should encourage him to be both privately and publicly honest about his sexuality and about the misuse of his power. True friends hold your toes to the fire and then are there to bandage your feet. But, what do you think of the video?
A couple days ago, Rihanna released the music video for her latest single, “Man Down,” a pop-reggae song that tells the story of a young woman’s guilt and regret after murdering a man that deeply wronged her. Check out the video below.
The cinematic clip fleshes out the song’s storyline, conveying that the root of her actions is a harrowing sexual assault in an alley after a house party. The video is expertly directed and paced for maximum impact; Rihanna is effervescent and gorgeous, interacting with friends and neighbors in her small, island town. She is innocently enjoying her life until tragedy literally emerges from out of the darkness and forces itself upon her, utterly breaking her spirit.
“Man Down” is a heartbreaking, complicated and brilliant music video.
And so of course the Parents Television Council and other useless, opportunistic, media-watchdog groups are “pissed.” Go figure.